Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Gerhard-Garcia, Alexandra, drummer, percussionist and composer; b. Cologne, Germany, 8 October 1974. She grew up in Cologne, but she was strongly influenced by the sounds of Venezuela, the country of her mother's birth. Music was a part of Gerhard-Garcia's life from the beginning; her father, Wolfgang Gerhard, is a successful music producer and guitarist. Gerhard-Garcia played music throughout her childhood. At first she focused on the guitar, her father's instrument of choice, and also learned to play the piano.
But it was the drums the inspired the budding musician most, and starting with a small drum set constructed specially for children, Gerhard-Garcia began to spend more and more time in the recording studio her father had built in the basement of their house. As musicians came and went on recording sessions, she paid special attention to the drummers, experimenting with making sounds on their drums. By the time she was 12 or 13 years old, Gerhard-Garcia began to take drumming lessons for the first time, studying with a teacher who was actually primarily a piano player, not a drummer. But it was enough to start Gerhard-Garcia on the path she was to follow as an adult.
Even so, Gerhard-Garcia planned to become a doctor, like her mother, most of the way through her college education. Then, with a year to go before graduation, she found that she could no longer ignore the pull that music had exerted on her throughout her early years. After finishing her undergraduate degree, Gerhard-Garcia went on to study musicology at the University of Cologne. The program proved too academic for her, however, and she realized she needed a more hands-on approach to music and the music business. Accordingly, she spent her free time performing, and playing her drums.
Gerhard-Garcia's drumming career suffered a setback in 1997 when she was involved in a motorcycle accident. "After that," she said on her Web site, "my life changed." Several ligaments in one shoulder were torn, preventing her from playing the drums. Rehabilitation involved starting over, retraining herself to play, step by painful step. But it put her priorities in focus; academia, she realized definitively, was not for her. She left the university, and enrolled in classes at the Drummers Institute in Dusseldorf, Germany. After several months of training there, she moved to New York City, where she continued her training at the Drummers Collective.
By 2000, Gerhard-Garciia had formed a band, called the Garcia Orchestra. Featured musicians are Jost Edelhoff on electric guitar, Andrey Muratov on keyboards, Achim SchrSter on saxophone, and Christoph Wolff on electric bass. Edelhoff was well known to German-speaking jazz aficionados for his popular series of articles in the German-language magazine Gitarre & Bass. Muratov, an emigrant from Russia, studied piano at Leningrad's (now St. Petersburg's) music conservatory before moving to Germany, where he met Gerhard-Garcia when they played gigs together with other bands. SchrSter and Wolff have both been accomplished musicians for many years, each playing a wide range of styles, from classical to big band to rock, and their styles lend themselves perfectly to Gerhard-Garcia's eclectic sensibilities.
Besides playing drums and composing music, Gerhard-Garcia also gives private drumming lessons and does graphics and artwork. In addition to playing in her own band, she has also sat in with the bands of Maipoe, La fiesta, and others, and with Alex Oriental Experience, Sigo Lorfeo, Loona and many other bands.
In the last few years, Alexandra Gerhard-Garcia has established a loyal following in Germany, performing innovative percussion both in her own efforts, and with her band, the Garcia Orchestra. Although her music mostly tends toward jazz, it is infused with the Latin influences of her heritage, as well as with strong rock and funk undertones to create a sound that is uniquely hers.
Maipoe, La fiesta, Alex Oriental Experience, Rodrigo Tobar, Rafael de Alcal', Simple Life, Loona, Luizinho Vieira, Ana Bonfim, Brasilexa, Eli Goulart, Valdeci Oliveira, Sigo Lorfeo, Latin emotions, Banda tropical, Ricky Garcia, Garcia Orchestra and others.
Eternal (1998); Garcia Orchestra: Crossroads (2001), Hessenjazz-Festival, Vol.5 (2001)
Various: Misa Criolla, Salve Colonia, Young Flamenco, Mas que nada, Misa Criolla (live CD); Sigo Lorfeo: Momenti Casuali; Luiz Diaz: Cool Bossa; Ricky G. Garcia: Promo-CD, CD 2
Drum!, Apr. 1999.
Modern Drummer, Dec. 1999
Kolner Stadtanzeiger, Aug. 2000, Oct. 2002
Feedback Magazin, May 2000
Bonner Rundschau, Aug. 2000
Kolnische Rundschau, Oct. 2002
"Alexandra Gerhard-Garcia," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (November 1, 2002).
"Alexandra Gerhard-Garcia--Crossroads," MP3.com, http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/cds/88/88645.html (November 6, 2002)
"Eternal," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (November 1, 2002).
"Garcia Orchestra--the Bandmembers," Garcia Orchestra official Web site, http://www.garciaorchestra.de/go3engl/bandengl.html (November 6, 2002).
Email interview with Gerhard-Garciia, November 6, 2002.